Woman celebrates 15 years rescuing wildlife in her home

Volunteer Brittany Bugg, left, talks about barn owls May 30 as she handles a female barn owl and fellow volunteer Whitney Miller handles a male barn owl at Great Basin Wildlife Rescue in Mapleton, Utah.

MAPLETON, Utah (AP) — At first glance, Patti Richards’ home blends in with her Mapleton neighbors — until you step into the backyard. Chirps and shrieks can be heard from the enclosures, where a talking crow named Earl and a baby owl are stretching and eating.

Richards is celebrating 15 years of rehabilitating wildlife at her home in northern Utah, the Daily Herald reported. Each year she rescues more than 100 birds including falcons, eagles and hawks.

The idea for the Great Basin Wildlife Rescue stemmed from Richards’ passion for birds and bears, she said. In addition to birds of prey, she and her team have also rehabilitated bears, bobcats and foxes.

Now the rescue focuses on treating birds of prey and corvids such as ravens, crows and magpies. Richards told the Herald that the corvids are her favorite because they’re so smart. As she talked with a crow named Earl and fed him a piece of food, he held it in his mouth and threw it to the side.

“Every single one of them has an attitude,” Richards said.

The rescue is also home to several education birds who work at schools, memorials and fundraisers. A barn owl named Adele is one of these birds; she came to the rescue to take over for Moonshine, an old male barn owl who started to fall asleep during educational programs, said Brittany Bugg, who volunteers at the rescue.

Richards said the majority of the birds are released back into their natural habitat once they’ve recovered from their injury or illness. Federal law prevents the rescue from keeping the animals for longer than six months. At that point, Richards said they have to decide whether to release the animal, euthanize it or find it a more permanent home. The rescue has relocated birds all over the country, from nearby places like the Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City to a facility in upstate New York.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Please turn off your CAPS LOCK.
No personal attacks. Discuss issues & opinions rather than denigrating someone with an opposing view.
No political attacks. Refrain from using negative slang when identifying political parties.
Be truthful. Don’t knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be proactive. Use the “Report” link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with us. We’d love to hear eyewitness accounts or history behind an article.
Use your real name: Anonymous commenting is not allowed.
If you share a web address, please provide context as to why you posted the link.